Mowed Down, But Not Out


I love mowing my lawn. Yes, I actually do. It takes about an hour or so to do on my lawn on my riding mower, and during that time, my mind unwinds and I go into an almost meditative state. I think about things to do, and projects I want to accomplish. Plus I just love the look of the lawn when it gets those baseball field stripes. Something about the perfect symmetry of the lines from mowing gives a guy a woody. I mean every guy wants a lawn like the outfield in Yankee Stadium. Of course I mean the new Stadium, not the old one where Mickey Mantle tore his knee on a drain and it pretty much started the steep decline of his career.

gran_torinoSo, I was mowing my lawn the other day, much like any other day. I was basically done and was about to blow some cut grass from the driveway back onto the lawn. Yeah, that all that was left as in about ten minutes I was headed to meet some buddies of mine from the Metropolitan Cigar Club, go to dinner, then watch Gran Torino back at the club while enjoying a few tasty smokes.

Sounded like a nice plan, don’t you think? Plans don’t always go the way we think they might.

As I blew the grass debris onto to the lawn, I circled my mower towards the right side of my driveway, where there’s a four foot retaining wall – just like I’ve done a thousand times before over the nine years I’ve lived in my home. I whiz around in a circle, stop at the wall, back up, then blow the final amount of cut grass clippings. No big deal.

Well, suddenly it becomes a big deal when the brakes on your mower don’t happen to work.

I pressed the brake but nothing happened. I pumped them several times in an instant, but the tractor kept going… careening over the retaining wall and throwing me six feet into the air, landing face first.


I definitely blacked out for a few seconds as I really don’t remember the actual impact. As I laid there on my back, in a somewhat state of mild shock, I heard my neighbor Sal screaming my name, asking if I was all right. He saw me take the header and expected to see the worst as he came around to the side of the wall where I had been tossed. Think about it – two rotating 21-inch blades could have sliced me to shreds if the mower had landed on top of me. Sal expected to find the worst and that scared the living shit out of him.

But he found me whole and intact, partially because of the great amounts of blubber that protected me from the fall – and partially because from my hockey playing days I know how to hit and roll. It’s an innate reaction to brace myself and roll as I hit, and I know that’s what happened as I awoke on my back.

My first reaction was that I was pissed as all hell. I’m always so careful on the mower and never take chances. Something like this shouldn’t have happened, but it did. I got up on my own power and began to walk around in a daze, very agitated and trying to convince myself that I was okay. Sal’s wife came over and kept insisting I go to the emergency room and that’s the last thing I wanted to do – but the massive pain building in my neck and head was telling me otherwise. I called my friend Dave who is a chiropractor and he said that if I blacked out, I need to go to the hospital.


dscn1365jpgSo the ambulance came. “We have to put this neck brace on you and strap you to this board so you don’t move,” I was told by the elder rescue squad woman. Great. Just great. Like Frankenstein’s creation I was strapped in, and THAT was ten times worse than the injury. That brace is a thousand degrees, I was sweating profusely, and my back muscles starting cramping terribly. Staring aimlessly at the lights on the ceiling, this was the worst 25-minute ride of my life as the driver hit every friggin’ bump he could find.

gclooney_lSo we arrived and they carted me into a room in the ER. I did not see Anthony Edwards or George Clooney – in fact I didn’t see anything as I was only able to look straight up. They hooked me up to wires and monitors as I laid there hoping the nurses were at least hot looking. As they leaned over me asking a myriad of questions, I did see a couple of cuties and that was refreshing, although it wasn’t a very good place for a boner to occur. The guy at my right was entering info into a computer and asked me if I was allergic to latex. I was like, “Say what?” Again he asked and my immediate dominatrixresponse was, “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask my dominatrix. Her number’s in my wallet.” The nurses laughed hysterically and the guy was all too serious trying to make sure I didn’t die or anything like that. Even in difficult moments I still will go for the laugh.

iron_maiden02Then they cleared the room and one of the nurses stayed and was asking health insurance info. I was able to reach for my wallet, but couldn’t find my insurance card. She said to me, “So you can’t find the insurance info I need, but you have your dominatrix’s phone number?” Some might think my priorities need fine tuning, but a chick with handcuffs and a whip would have surely felt better than what I was experiencing.

I was now in that Iron Maiden for 2 and half hours and couldn’t be removed until I had head and chest X-Rays. They assured me that it was for my own good and I assured them that water boarding may have been a tad more comforting. Finally, X-Rays were done and nothing was cracked or broken. (I had to pee so bad and couldn’t til they were done. And I let out one hell of a mammoth fart in the bathroom. I know TMI.) But now I had to go for a cat scan, to make sure my thick Polack skull was okay. That was kind of cool and took all of five minutes. The longest part was waiting for the results. And waiting…and waiting…

I was sitting back in the room feeling a bit better. Finally I had some ice water and was sitting up. The cutie nurse got me a wretched turkey sandwich from the fridge, but it was now 10pm I hadn’t eaten since early in the morning so a pile of sawdust would have done just fine – in fact, I think that’s what I was  actually eating.

Finally, the doctor, said I was cleared to go and that I was incredibly fortunate. While I knew that I was indeed quite fortunate, I knew all along that I was fine. I never got nervous or scared and just stayed very positive throughout the entire ordeal. It was all very surreal, as I kept seeing myself hurtling over the retaining wall, over and over again. Sal and Carol came to pick me up which was nice and I was feeling like I had gotten into a fight with 5 guys and got my head handed to me. If you were wondering, my wife and kids were away for the week at the shore and I didn’t want to call them until after I was cleared. No need to get people crazy when you don’t actually know anything.

You know the old deal that you always feel worse days afterwards, and god damn if that ain’t the truth. I feel like I had my ass kicked by a group of angry drunken Marines and I hurt everywhere. My neck seems okay, but the side of my face I landed on is killing me and I’ve got some pretty nasty road rash. I’ve had a few Motrin omelets for breakfast over the past few days and that certainly does help. But all in all I am one fortunate son of a bitch and I’m okay. Wow I’m okay.

So there’s my little story to tell for you all this week. My wrists and side are sore as hell while typing, but I’m a trooper, dammit. I’m the trooper of the blogosphere.

Send cigars if you feel for me, as I’ll be back next week, fit as a fiddle – whatever the hell that means.

Thanx for caring, no really… I love maduro.

Later my peeps,

Tommy Z.

JR Cigars Blog With the Zman.

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